Diagnostic utility of the Alvarado scale in older adults with suspected acute appendicitis




Luis C. Domínguez-Torres, Departamento de Cirugía, Universidad de La Sabana, Chía, Colombia
Neil V. Vega-Peña, Departamento de Cirugía, Universidad de La Sabana, Chía, Colombia


Background: Acute appendicitis remains as a differential diagnosis in older patients with abdominal pain. The Alvarado scale may assist to guide the diagnosis and treatment of this entity. The operative characteristics of the scale are little known in this population. Method: We conducted a systematic review of original studies published between 1986 and 2022 evaluating the diagnostic performance of the Alvarado scale in older adults with suspected acute appendicitis. The review was conducted according to the PRISMA statement. The evaluation of the methodological quality of the studies was performed according to the ROBINS-I criteria. Results: Four original studies of retrospective design including 480 patients were identified. The heterogeneity and poor methodological quality limited an aggregate statistical analysis (meta-analysis). The value of the ROC curve of the scale varies between 0.799 and 0.969. From the available studies, the value of the ROC curve is lower in comparison to the RIPASA scale and comparable to the Lintula scale. Conclusions: The evidence on the diagnostic performance of the Alvarado scale in older adults is limited. The poor methodological quality of the available studies calls for a prudent use of this tool in this population. Our findings offer opportunities for future research.



Keywords: Acute appendicitis. Alvarado score. Prediction. Elderly. Acute abdominal pain.